1887

Abstract

Genome segment 9 (Seg-9) of Colorado tick fever virus (CTFV) is 1884 bp long and contains a large open reading frame (ORF; 1845 nt in length overall), although a single in-frame stop codon (at nt 1052–1054) reduces the ORF coding capacity by approximately 40 %. However, analyses of highly conserved RNA sequences in the vicinity of the stop codon indicate that it belongs to a class of ‘leaky terminators’. The third nucleotide positions in codons situated both before and after the stop codon, shows the highest variability, suggesting that both regions are translated during virus replication. This also suggests that the stop signal is functionally leaky, allowing read-through translation to occur. Indeed, both the truncated ‘termination’ protein and the full-length ‘read-through’ protein (VP9 and VP9′, respectively) were detected in CTFV-infected cells, in cells transfected with a plasmid expressing only Seg-9 protein products, and in the translation products from undenatured Seg-9 ssRNA. The ratios of full-length and truncated proteins generated suggest that read-through may be down-regulated by other viral proteins. Western blot analysis of infected cells and purified CTFV showed that VP9 is a structural component of the virion, while VP9′ is a non-structural protein.

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2004-08-01
2019-11-14
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